MathildeHK at Macau Museum- Exhibition from Lorient to The Orient.

You like navigators and their stories?

You heard about the trade companies in the XVIIIth century?

You want to discover The French East India Company?

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Exhibition poster, From Lorient to the Orient,

Last Saturday, I went to the Museo de Macau with the OSC to attend a guided tour and two lectures on the new exhibition dedicated to the French East India Company and its Museum in Lorient, Brittany, France. We had the opportunity to meet the curator of the  Museum of the East India Company, Lorient, Madame Brigitte Nicolas, as well as the curator of the Museum of the fabrics from Jouy, Madame Esclarmonde Monteil. Madame Cecile Leon also contributed to the curating and coordination between France and Macau.

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Painting, Ville de Lorient, © Musée de la Compagnie des Indes 

The exhibition “From Lorient to the Orient – Port Cities of China and France on the 18th Century Maritime Silk Route”, organized by the Macao Museum under the Cultural Affairs Bureau, will be held until August 30th.


Madame Brigitte Nicolas, conservateur en chef du patrimoine, Directeur du musee de la Compagnie des Indes et Madame Esclarmonde Monteil Directrice du musee de l atoile de Jouy.

With about 80 pieces, among which 3 pieces coming from Macau, the exhibition benefited from loans from various museums in France, including the Musée de la Compagnie des Indes – Ville de Lorient, Musée des Arts décoratifs – Département Mode et Textile (Paris), Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, Musée de la Toile de Jouy (Jouy-en-Josas), Pierre Frey (Paris), Tassinari & Chatel, Manufacture de soierie à Lyon, France and The Peninsula Hong Kong.

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 Port Louis, Lorient, Brittany,

The exhibition can be divided into 3 thematic: the history of the East India Company and the development of  Lorient, the porcelain trade with China and the silk road. Then, Porcelains, Ivory fan, Tea boxes, Silks and printed cottons are on display at the Museum. They show how imported luxury goods from the Orient influenced the fashion in Europe and favored the Chinoiserie taste, an expression created in the XIX th century.

The Creation of The East India Company 1664- 1795

Long time after the British had created a East Indian House in 1600 and the Dutch the V.O.C in 1602, France decided to establish trading counters in India and China in 1664, with the Compagnie Française des Indes Orientales. The history of the company can be divided in 3 parts: – 1664-1719: the 1st company under the patronage of Colbert. The unsuccessful trips to China. 1666 The creation of Port Louis in Lorient. – 1719-1769: the 2nd company under the management of John Law. The raise of the city of Lorient. The Bankruptcy in 1769. – 1769-1795: the 3rd company developed better, 173 ships to the East, but the trading operations ceased with the French Revolution.


The Silver from Columbia, the exchange currency with India and China, picture@MathildeHK

The Museum of the East India Company in Lorient displays collections donated by the population to the Museum, created in 1984 within the walls of Port Louis’fortress. It is a place worth going if you ever visit Brittany.

My favorite piece: An original XVIII th century red  “Toile de Jouy “


Jean Baptiste Huet, Les travaux de la manufacture de Jouy, 1783, picture@MathildeHK

The last room of the exhibition was fascinating, with several examples of XVIII th century fine dresses and gowns. The Museum of Jouy loaned several wall papers and clothing pieces to illustrate the silk trade road and the creativity of French Manufactures.

That piece below, a red Toile de Jouy, has been created by Jean Baptiste Huet, a French drawer and designer, in 1783. It depicts the different manufacturing stages in Jouy, a very renowned textile manufacture created in the XVIII th century by a german coming from a fabric family: Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf. The manufacture was strongly influenced, in motives and Technics, by the Indian cottons and settled a new fashion for red and blue prints on cotton in France.


The Museum of the toile de Jouy, logo,

“From Lorient to the Orient – Port Cities of China and France on the 18th Century Maritime Silk Route”

Date: 30 May to 30 August 2015
Venue: Macao Museum

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 – 18:00

For details, please visit :


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